So…nutella cookies!! They’re like nutella because they’re made with cocoa powder and hazelnuts, and they have nutella mixed into the batter! They’re like nutella because they’re delicious and addictive! They’re crispy-outside-soft-inside-chocolatey-nutty-melty-pleasantly-plump-and-weighty. And they’re fun and easy to make.
He wanted a tree cake with monkeys on it. He wanted the tree to stand up like a real tree, in three glorious dimensions. I was up for the challenge. We came up with a fiendish plan. We improvised as we went along, changing the scheme when we got to the candy aisle at the grocery store. And look at what we made! Martha Stewart eat your heart out! Doesn’t she wish she could make a giant messy lopsided tree cake? Doesn’t everyone! The trunk is made of brownies, and the two layers are held together with nutella. The cake itself is a chocolate chip cake. The frosting is a sort of buttercream. (That’s sugar and butter, people! That’s sweet!) We couldn’t find gummy monkeys, but we used spearmint leaves sliced in half, gummy flowers, a few gummy bears, and two little wind-up toy monkeys. It’s a mess, but I like it!! Here’s my philosophy about birthday cakes…I’m not the neatest decorator on the planet, but if you cover something with candy, it appeals. If you basically have a few giant chip cookies poised on top of brownies, you’re golden!!
Here’s July Tree, by Nina Simone. We’ve always thought it was about Malcolm being born!
Isaac had strep throat twice this winter. It’s almost a relief when you get the diagnosis, because you know what it is, and you know how to treat it. There must have been a time before antibiotics were discovered that it would have been such dire news. The medicine usually kicks in right away, but you can’t send the kid to school for another twenty-four hours. I like that grace period! I like spending a day with one of my boys, when it almost seems like they’re playing hooky, because they feel well enough to do (quiet) fun things. We’re always both a little tired, from nights of staying up feeling ill or worrying (I do a lot of that!), so it’s nice to cuddle on the couch and read, or draw, or sit in the sunshine. Or bake! It seems to have become a tradition that we’ll bake cookies, usually based on some idea of the boys’ clever little brains.This nutella-filled pretzel cookie, though, is something I’ve been scheming about for a while. Over the summer it was all the rage to dip skinny little pretzel sticks into a giant jar of nutella. (An invention of their cousin, Evan) It is an oddly perfect combination. Mild and salty meets almost-too-sweet. So that’s what we decided to do here. I wasn’t sure if the nutella would stay inside the pretzel, what with all the baking and the boiling. I was delighted that it (mostly) did! On a few of the pretzels, the nutella leaked out and somehow melded with the salt and the butter and lord knows what else to form completely delicious little crispy chips. Someday…I will find a way to make them.
We mixed up the dough, and then we had to let it rest for an hour, so I suggested Isaac have some lunch while we wait. “A lunch break!” he declared. “This is the first job I’ve ever had where I got a lunch break!”
These cookie pretzels are very popular in my family at the moment. Although for some reason David keeps saying, “you shouldn’t have done this!” They are dangerously good!!
We went to the doctor twice, and both times, this song was playing when we drove back down the flower-lined streets of our town. Isaac said, “this is one of my favorite songs at the moment.” Which is funny, cause it’s one of my favorite songs of all time. It’s Barbara Dane with Ramblin’ Round. I’ve heard it a million times, and it makes me weepy every single time I hear it, as though I’ve never heard it before.